Selected Filmmaker’s Production Will Be Powered by ARRAY Crew, the Inclusive Hiring Database for Below-the-Line Crew Members
LOS ANGELES, CA (June 2, 2021) — Today, ARRAY announced a partnership with Google to offer emerging creatives from historically underrepresented communities with the opportunity to apply for a career-changing $500,000 feature film grant. ARRAY is a grassroots distribution, arts and advocacy collective focused on amplifying work by people of color and women, founded by acclaimed director Ava DuVernay. The ARRAY + Google Feature Film Grant which will provide funds to produce the recipient’s first full-length feature film, was instituted as a way to help build a more equitable and inclusive artistic community of diverse storytellers.
“Having started my filmmaking journey by self-funding projects, this is a full-circle moment,” said ARRAY Founder Ava DuVernay.
I’m pleased to partner with Google and ARRAY’s grant advisory committee to identify an emerging writer/director to bring their vision to the screen. Inclusive storytelling is at the heart of ARRAY’s mission and we’re proud to also provide access to ARRAY Crew in order to further ensure that the set of the grantee’s film reflects the full array of the world around us.”
“We live and breathe filmmaking at ARRAY. For the past decade we have had the opportunity to amplify the work of so many stellar women and filmmakers of color, and the opportunity to partner with Google on this grant is the start of a strong partnership,” said ARRAY President Tilane Jones. “We are so lucky to have Crystal, Gabrielle, Francis, Maria and Smriti on our advisory committee and be working with every pillar of ARRAY to produce and distribute this project.”
The recipient of this mentorship and filmmaking opportunity will be selected by an esteemed advisory committee within the independent filmmaking community, including Gabrielle Glore (Urbanworld, Festival Director & Head of Programming), Francis Cullado (Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Executive Director for Visual Communications Media), Crystal Echo Hawk (IllumiNative, Founder and Executive Director), María Rauqel Bozzi (Senior Director of Education & International Initiatives at Film Independent), and Smriti Kiran (Mumbai Film Festival).
“We’re honored to help ARRAY showcase talented creatives from underrepresented communities and to add volume to more diverse voices,” said Elle Roth-Brunet, Google Assistant’s Entertainment Partnerships Lead and producer on the project. “The Array x Google Feature Film Grant is intrinsically aligned with Google Assistant’s commitment to speak with a diverse set of voices, and connect with more people to help in their everyday lives.”
The production will be powered by ARRAY Crew, the database created by DuVernay as a way for hiring managers in search of below-the-line hires to easily access underrepresented film and television professionals, including but not limited to women and BIPOC individuals of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island decent. The platform currently has over 6,000 qualified members and more than 300 productions across 450 departments. Discoverable positions on ARRAY Crew include grips, lighting directors, production designers, costume designers, sound technicians, production accountants, hair stylists, VFX designers, foley artists, ADR mixers, animal trainers, food stylists, choreographers, scenic painters, toolmen, fabric buyers, stitchers, ADR editors, graphic designers, SFX makeup, and more.
The ARRAY + Google Feature Film Grant was developed in partnership with Google due to their ongoing commitment to amplify marginalized voices and highlight perspectives from historically underrepresented communities. Google also recently partnered with The Black List to launch a storytelling fellowship that provides financial and creative support to writers from underrepresented communities, as a means to develop their first feature film script or TV pilot.
Alika Maikau is a Hapa Hawaiian/Asian filmmaker based out of Honolulu, Hawai’i. In 2017 he earned a mentorship under Joe Robert Cole (Black Panther), who oversaw the development of what would become his short, Mauka To Makai, which premiered at the end of 2018 and was awarded Best Made In Hawai’i Short at the Hawai’i International Film Festival. Filmmaker Magazine published an article in 2019 entitled Made Visible, where they went on to say about Mauka “Bringing to the screen a world little seen even in Hawaiian films, it wove a universal tale of economic struggle and longtime friendship into a proudly local, indigenous setting.” Alika followed up Mauka with Moloka’i Bound, which premiered at ImagineNative 2019 and won the award for “Best Short Work,” granting them Oscar Consideration for the 2021 Academy Awards. In December 2021 the feature-length script for Moloka’i Bound was selected for the inaugural Indigenous Black List.
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Journalist, Creative Director, Producer & Author
Writer, Director & Producer
Writer & Director
Writer, Researcher & Independent Filmmaker
TITLE: Journalist, Creative Director, Producer & Author
Journalist, creative director, producer and author, Smriti Kiran has been part of the entertainment industry for over two decades. Her extensive experience in television programming took shape at multiple networks like NDTV, Star and Zee TV. An avid believer in the power of narratives, she wrote the screenplay book of the record-breaking film 3 Idiots and produced the screenplay books of auteur extraordinaire Guru Dutt. Smriti is the Artistic Director of the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, where she is committed to help build the festival into a cutting-edge entity. At present, she curates and hosts Dial M For Films, a first of its kind online knowledge series that she started a year ago.
TITLE: Writer, Director & Producer
Mary Evangelista is a writer, director, and producer from the Philippines and the Bay Area. Mary received an MFA from NYU Tisch for Writing and Directing. Their short film, Fran This Summer, is an LGBTQ summer love story that premiered at Sundance Film Festival, and won the Grand Jury Prize at Outfest before playing in thirty film festivals internationally. Mary co-created Water Melts, a Tribeca Film Institute, and Google supported VR rom-com which premiered at Tribeca and played at the Rotterdam Film Festival. A Project Involve Fellow with Film Independent where they directed the short La Gloria, an HBO Ibero-American Award Shorts Finalist at the Miami Film Festival. Mary’s last short film as producer, Bittu, premiered at Telluride Film Festival before being shortlisted for the 93rd Academy Awards. Mary’s debut feature film, Burning Well, is currently in development, a recipient of the 2020 Tribeca All Access grant and a 2021 WIF x Sundance Finance Intensive fellowship.
Cristina is a Chicana border crosser and an award-winning independent filmmaker with a 20-year film practice rooted in her Texas-Mexico homeland. Her new film, The Infiltrators, a hybrid documentary and scripted narrative about young undocumented activists who infiltrate a detention center, received the NEXT Audience and Innovator Awards at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The New York Times calls her previous documentary about elite Mexican American debutantes, Las Marthas, “a striking alternative portrait of border life”. It premiered on Independent Lens in 2014 and was awarded the Best US Latino Film by Cinema Tropical. Her directorial debut, Dirty Laundry: A Homemade Telenovela, an award-winning comedy about adolescent sexuality inside a culture clashing Chicano family was broadcast on PBS. She is a currently a Chicken & Egg Award fellow.
A child of immigrants, David Liu grew up in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles, raised on a third-culture diet of ‘90s hip hop, martial arts serials, and Hardy Boys mysteries. He studied political economy at UC Berkeley and worked as a journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area before earning his MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. While at USC, his feature screenplay about jazz legend Charles Mingus was shortlisted for Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope Screenplay Competition. David’s work as a writer-director has been recognized at festivals and competitions such as Palm Springs, Cinequest, Heartland, TIDE, CAAMFest, and the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival. He is a recipient of the CAPE New Writers Fellowship, Visual Communications’ Armed with a Camera Fellowship, and the Frieze x Deutsche Bank Film Fellowship supported by GFS and Endeavor Content.
Ryan RedCorn (Osage) was born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma into a family of preachers, politicians and salesmen, which are all the same occupation. He is the ilonpa of Raymond and Elizabeth RedCorn, and the object of jealousy from his three younger brothers Jon, Alex and Studebaker, who between them have three masters degrees and two Phd’s. Ryan, however, took six and half years to get an art degree in visual communications from the University of Kansas. To the surprise of many, Ryan has been able to translate his education, his ilonpa entitlement, and his family lineage into something some people think is valuable. He co-founded the Indigenous comedy troupe, the 1491s, and started a full services ad agency in the middle of nowhere Pawhuska, Oklahoma called Buffalo Nickel Creative. Sometimes people laugh at him. But he’s ok with all of that. He recently woke one morning and realized he was married and had three daughters. He remarked, “I live a crazy life” and promptly enrolled in an MFA in screenwriting program to test his capacity for stress. He graduated in the Spring of 2020 and is presently alive and vaccinated.
TITLE: Writer, Researcher & Independent Filmmaker
Suzannah Mirghani is writer, researcher, and independent filmmaker from Sudan. She is a media studies and museum studies graduate, and the writer, director, and producer of Al-Sit (2020), winner of several international awards, including three Academy Award qualifying prizes: Best of Fest at LA Shorts; Grand Prix at Tampere Film Festival, and Best Short Film at Bronzelens. Her most recent short is the experimental documentary Virtual Voice (2021), which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. Suzannah is working on her first feature Cotton Queen, a magical realist tale set in the cotton fields of Sudan.
GRANT ADVISORY COMMITTEE
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Crystal Echo Hawk
L.A. ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL
MARÍ RAQUEL BOZZI
CRYSTAL ECHO HAWK
Gabrielle Glore is the Festival Director and Head of Programming for Urbanworld, a 25-year-old NYC based festival providing a platform for inclusive storytellers from around the globe. In addition, she navigates the independent film space as a producer (Sylvie’s Love), executive producer (Dirty Laundry) and film financier (Through the Fire). She produced two seasons of The Round for BET’s female-focused network CENTRIC, a TV show providing a platform for women of color giving inspiring TED-style talks across various topics. Gabrielle serves as the Executive Director of the Leading Women Defined Foundation, established and Chaired by Debra L. Lee, former Chairman and CEO, BET Networks. She sits on the Board of MoCADA (Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts) and The Moth, a nonprofit dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling.
MARÍ RAQUEL BOZZI
María Raquel Bozzi is the Senior Director of Education & International Initiatives at Film Independent, where she has built a wide array of education and professional development programs, serving thousands of emerging and working filmmakers across the United States and abroad. She leads Global Media Makers, an innovative mentoring initiative that connects storytellers from around the world with U.S. professionals. As an independent filmmaker, her filmography includes the documentaries Palenque: Un Canto, and The Colombia We Never Left for HBO Latino. With an extensive education experience, she has taught at several film schools throughout Los Angeles and holds an MFA in Film and Television Production from UCLA.
IN THE NEWS
It can be said that Ava DuVernay is only doing what the Creator ordained her to do. After showing a sneak peek at her new CW show, Naomi, and speaking out in support of Naomi Osaka—DuVernay’s Array has announced a partnership with Google to create a new $500,000 feature film grant for rising creatives from historically underrepresented communities.
The acclaimed director hopes to smooth the path for the next woman or person of color with a $500,000 filmmaking grant offered in partnership with Google. The grant is designed to finance the recipient’s first feature-length film, and, in the process, help foster a diverse community of storytellers.
Ava Duvernay’s distribution, arts and advocacy collective ARRAY has partnered with Google to launch a new feature film grant benefiting emerging creatives from underrepresented communities.
Ava DuVernay’s arts and social impact collective Array has continually made good on its mission to amplify the careers of underserved creatives and crew members in film and TV, with a number of initiatives across its various production, distribution, and nonprofit arms.